The Patna High Court today modified its previous order and gave freedom to the Jitan Ram Manjhi government to take decisions but directed that their implementation should be only after February 21.
The order was passed by a bench of Chief Justice L Narsimha Reddy and Justice Vikash Jain on a PIL filed by JD(U) legislator Niraj Kumar.
“Take decision but implementation should be deferred till February 21,” the bench said.
The Manjhi government will seek a confidence vote on February 20.
The state government had sought a modification on the court’s earlier order and the case was taken up today. The new counsel of the state government Varun Sinha argued that the PIL was not maintainable.
On Monday, a direction was given by a division bench comprising Justices Iqbal Ahmad Ansari and Samrendra Pratap Singh on the same PIL that respondents should not take any decision having financial implications, except for routine matters.
Besides Manjhi, there were three other respondents—the chief secretary, the principal secretary to the governor and the principal secretary to the chief minister.
The petitioner’s counsel P K Shahi, an ex-advocate general of the state, had then drawn the court’s attention to policy decisions taken by Manjhi, who, he said, did not have the required strength to run the government.
He had highlighted decisions like reserving work for SC/ST contracts up to Rs 70 lakh, lowering attendance for school students from 75 per cent to 60 per cent for general category and 55 per cent for SC/ST for availing benefit schemes like free cycle and uniform, besides free electricity to farmers having up to five acres.
Shahi had also referred to a similar decision by the Supreme Court in the case of government of Jagdambika Pal in Uttar Pradesh.